Who in their right mind misses British supermarkets in the food paradise that is Singapore? As it turns out, we do. A friend who left the UK a while ago warned me about this. One minute you’re in Scotland, fantasizing about your laksa noodles, the next minute you’re in Singapore, cringing at the price of your kid’s favourite breakfast cereal. It’s not that you can’t get things here – to be honest, it’s hard to think of something you can’t find. But many of the old favourites are either harder to come by or just significantly pricier than they used to be, and kids can be less than keen to embrace the alternatives.
Familiar supermarket essentials are one life’s comfort blankets. Home is home when it’s stocked with your favourite pasta sauce, your preferred apple variety, the perfect tea blend and your go-to snack for those cranky moments. The map of your local supermarket is etched on your brain. It’s a bit of stability in a tumultuous world.
I didn’t really appreciate this until we moved. Obviously, we’ve been away on holiday and lived without our standard fare for a week or two, but after the novelty of the exotic wears off, we have often experienced a slight relief upon returning home to be able to do our regular Sainsbury’s shop.
So, despite the amazing plethora of goodies available here, there are definitely a few staples we have missed. To add to that, Little Miss is allergic to dairy, and oddly enough we can’t find any soya yoghurt or soya spread. Surprising, considering there are multiple shelves devoted to endless varieties of tofu products and soya milk. Her regular brand of dairy-free oat milk is available…but at triple the price. Ouch.
I also kind of miss the flower section. Not that I bought them often in the UK, but they were always there, nicely arranged, for the consideration. The selection here is relatively tiny and most of them die after about 2 days because it’s so hot.
But we really shouldn’t complain; Singapore has a ridiculous number of food shops, cafes, bakeries, restaurants and markets bursting with tasty food so I guess we’re just in the process of building up a new basket of family favourites.
Our wanderings through the well-stocked supermarket aisles of Singapore have certainly yielded a few surprises and lots of questions from the kids. “Why is this swiss roll green? Why is that jelly black? Is that still alive? What is that smell?!” (Durian, of course.) So I have compiled a few of these to make a wee quiz for your entertainment!
Singapore Supermarket Quiz
1.Do black chickens lay black eggs?
2. Which is more expensive: a) this 300g box of Cheerios or b) this 5-piece serving of fresh salmon sushi?
3. Which two British supermarket in-house brands can be found in Singaporean supermarkets?
a) Tesco b) Sainsburys c) Waitrose d) Asda
4. What is this?
5. What is the difference between:
a) English Cucumbers from Holland and b) Telegraphic Cucumbers from Malaysia?
6. This little box of grapes costs:
a) $15 (£7) b) $48 (£23) c) $82 (£38)
7. What is in this box?
8. Can you buy fresh fruit and veg in the supermarkets that was actually grown in Singapore…or are they all imported from other countries?
Feeling confident? Pop your answers in the comments box!
Answers to follow before next Chusday….watch this space.